Although it’s been written so many times, the new play The Lyons makes the statement ring truer than ever: You cannot choose your family. The titular clan is gathered at the hospital bedside of Ben (Dick Latessa), the patriarch, who is riddled with cancer and dying. His wife, Rita (Linda Lavin), is nonchalantly reading an interior design magazine, planning how to redecorate the living room once Ben is gone. Their two grown children (Kate Jennings Grant and Michael Esper) can’t seem to comfort their father for five minutes without digging up some complaint from the past about their parents. The hospital room becomes the setting for the clan’s final rumble together.
The No. 1 Reason To See The Lyons: Linda Lavin’s droll delivery and facial expressions Read more
- The one-two punch of interviewing Tony Kushner and Michael Greif for Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide
- Michael Greif spills details on this summer’s off-Broadway revival of Rent
- Michael Esper describes his final American Idiot curtain call with Billie Joe Armstrong
- Steven Pasquale on how he and wife Laura Benanti keep their schedules in sync.
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Are you excited for the Rent revival? Do you think Michael Greif will make it very different from the original production? Do you want to see Michael Esper in another musical? Aren’t Steven Pasquale and Laura Benanti a sickeningly attractive, charming couple? Leave your envy, thoughts and ideas in the comments below!
Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Angels In America, can’t seem to get enough of director Michael Greif. Or is it vice versa? The two paired for the revival of Angels, still playing at the Signature Theatre, and are now in rehearsals for the New York debut of Kushner’s latest play—are you ready for it?—The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. Beginning performances March 22 at the Public Theater, the play is a family drama using the themes of labor unions, relationships, and death.
Kushner, Greif, and cast members Steven Pasquale, Michael Esper, and Linda Emond sat down with Stage Rush to talk about long titles, supposed crank phone calls from Kushner, and the challenges of his work.
(Using an iPhone or iPad? Watch on YouTube)
Are you a fan of Kushner’s, Rushers? Will you be seeing Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide? Did you enjoy Pasquale’s story of the surprise phone call from Kushner? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! And if you can’t get enough of these guys, Greif, Pasquale, and Esper will be appearing in Friday’s episode of Stage Rush TV!
The weather didn’t get the memo that Broadway in Bryant Park still had one more week left in the season. It drizzled on the massive crowd that gathered for the free lunchtime concert’s final show of the summer. But judging from the crowd’s reactions to the buzzy shows that performed, they didn’t seem to mind the rain.
The Cagelles of La Cage aux Folles, this year’s Tony winner for Best Revival of a Musical, took the stage first. I wasn’t surprised that Kelsey Grammer didn’t participate in the event, but Douglass Hodge, the Tony winner for Best Actor, could have showed up to belt out “I Am What I Am.” Instead, their merry mass of transvestites entertained the crowd to exuberant applause. Not donning any feminine garb for “We Are What We Are” did come off a bit strange (“Look under our frocks,” what frocks?!), but their energy was through the roof, especially as they spiked extra large beach balls into the audience. The song began strangely though, as the announcer introduced the song as “What Are We Here For,” and then interrupted the already-in-progress number to give it the correct title. Dale Hensely and Chris Hoch went on as Albin and Georges, respectively, for “With You On My Arm,” which came off dull. The duo then joined the Cagelles for their closing act, “The Best of Times,” in which they paled in comparison to the effusive ensemble.
Video: “We Are What We Are”
Stephen Kunken has been riding an emotional roller coaster. The day after he wrapped his run as the Stage Manager in the Barrow Street Theatre’s Our Town this winter, he and his wife flew to Ethiopia to bring home their adopted eight-month daughter. Three days later, the ebullient family was back in New York and Kunken began rehearsals for Enron. Two months later, Kunken received his first Tony nomination and was informed that the play was closing all within the same day.
Despite the head-spinning timing, Kunken is well versed in the nature of theater. He has appeared in numerous acclaimed Broadway productions like Proof, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Frost/Nixon, in addition to roles in Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, Gossip Girl, and Law & Order. His portrayal of Enron’s Andy Fastow, the wormy brainiac who concocts the illegal plan that draws the company into historical scandal, has earned him a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor.
Kunken sat down with Stage Rush to talk about the unpredictability of theater, Tony night fake outs, and watching raptors cackle off stage.
What was your reaction when you found out you were nominated?
My immediate reaction was I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. It’s the pinnacle of an industry you’ve gotten into. It’s just amazing to even step onto a Broadway stage. When I took my first step on a Broadway stage, I realized it was a threshold that I’d crossed. The first time anybody mentions your name in a review, it’s “Wow.” At that moment when you’re nominated and you’re embraced by the community, it’s hard to put a word to it. I truly believe the nomination is the win.
What nominee are you most excited for?
Stephen McKinley Henderson from Fences. Stephen has been in this for so long and is such a fantastic actor. It’s going to be hard, because if he wins, the presenter is going to announce, “Stephen…” and I’ll be like, (gasp). And my middle name is Michael, so they’ll say, “Stephen M…” I’ll have to wait till they get to the “Henderson” to know. Then I’ll have to put my ass back in the chair.